What are square videos?

Updated: Nov 8, 2020

What are square videos and how could they help you to solve a social media puzzle during lockdown?

We are all considering the best strategy and most effective approach to marketing and promoting our business during lockdown, whether to sell products online or preparing our business in readiness for when the restrictions are lifted.

Social Media is the obvious choice however as more of us post online we generate more traffic on our social media feeds, therefore simply getting noticed becomes more of a challenge and a social media puzzle for us to solve. Added to that, more business owners understand that incorporating video is one of the best ways to engage and connect with an audience and that Visual Marketing can play a key role in attracting attention. However as more business owners turn to video as the marketing tool of choice, once again we face the challenge of making our content stand out when posted on the same social media feed as our competition.

As a photographer and film maker I would traditionally post a 16x9 ratio video which creates the familiar landscape shape that we are used to watching on a TV or Laptop for example. However the combination of both social media and mobile phones means that we have to rethink this approach. Therefore instead of thinking outside the box, more creative video posts are now happening inside a box! This square video format instantly creates a more dynamic visual imprint on a social media feed, taking up more real estate on the viewing screen of a mobile phone.

'We found that view-through rate and engagement rate are much higher on square than landscape videos. This is likely due to the larger amount of real estate that a square video gets in feed' Jason Stein, founder and CEO of Laundry Service (Digital Lab Blog)

Square video also opens up many new opportunities to add eye-catching visual elements to your video content. If I were shooting and editing a traditional video for say a web site or blog post then I would add additional, supporting graphics such as contact information and lower third titles. With the extra room created by the square format we can add company branding and logo's which will stay in place throughout the duration of the video itself, similar to when you view a company web site for example.

The square format also allows us to add additional information such as a special offer, a discount on a product or a call to action and this is the thinking behind a new product which I have developed at Cheshire Film and Photography. Videoads are based upon the square format video, Videoads are also bespoke therefore they can be created exclusively for your business, using your company branding and logo. What's more, a Videoad can be as simple as you sending over your logo and details of your special offer so that I can create video animation, packaged as a square video within 48 hrs, perfect if you want to launch a special offer at the start of the following week and ideal if you don't like the idea of presenting on camera. If you already create you own video content on your mobile phone for example, then I can edit the video to improve picture and sound quality and again package your video in a square video format complete with your company logo, details and subtitles.

Traditional 16x9 Ratio Horizontal Format

Square Video Format c/w additional graphics and subtitles

85% of videos are viewed on Facebook without sound. With a square video you can add clear, easy to read subtitles which re-enforce your business message and allow viewers to see important information such as contact details and your web site address. Traditional subtitles that we typically add to a 16x9 ratio video look fine on a TV or Laptop however on a Facebook feed, viewed on a mobile phone traditional subtitles can look small and virtually unreadable. A benefit of adding this additional information through using subtitles becomes clear if you imagine that you're watching a video post on Facebook while on a train journey. Not only can you watch the video easily with the sound turned down, you could also take a screen grab of the video in order to retain the company details to reference again later without the inconvenience of trying to write down that information elsewhere.

American video specialists Aaron and Angela Bell recently split tested video content to promote an online course. The first video was based upon the traditional 1920x1080 format, the second duplicate video was created using the square format, complete with company branding and a call to action. They ran the ads based upon the same audience and for the same budget and same time period. The traditional version converted leads for $3.55 whereas the square format converted leads for $1.43 in effect this means that the square format came in 60% cheaper, they went on to report that they receive 25 - 75% better results promoting videos using the square format.

So is this square format a possible solution to marketing your business during lockdown? Research certainly backs up the idea that a square video format will attract more attention on social media and the additional opportunity for adding business branding and subtitles only goes to enhance this experience for the viewer. As a film maker and photographer I still believe that the traditional format video has it's place for the front page of your web site or blog post, telling the story of your business and helping your business to connect and engage with your audience. However I am always seeking to innovate and create products which help and assist my clients during lockdown and long into the future, hence the recent launch of my Videoads products, examples of which I will post below. If you want any further information regarding Videoads and the square video format or to find out how this format can increase engagement and brand awareness on social media, then please contact Paul on 07969 054778 or email:

With this example, James and Krys recorded their own video and sent it over to Cheshire Film and Photography. I adjusted the video and audio slightly and then repackaged the content into a square video format. If you think about scrolling down your Facebook timeline on your mobile phone, the first thing that you will actually see is the top of the video, this is why it's important to animate the logo to create an eye-catching effect in the first instance. The bold colours and clear, easy to read subtitles help to enhance the experience for the viewer and retain the viewers attention.

In under 60 seconds I make the case for investing in a professional headshot rather than settling for a selfie! In this Videoad created for my own business, the square format, the additional graphics and the music all help to attract attention on social media. Add to that a clear offer of a 2hr photo-shoot for £250.00 and a clear call to action e.g. visit my web site for more information and this all adds up to an effective social media post.

A high tempo example ideal for sports and fitness, or any business associated with high energy products and events. This is a fictitious company however similar Videoads can be created just using stock images and your company logo, as with this example.

Two side by side examples for another fictitious company Herbal Bliss Co, demonstrating how you can launch an offer within 48hrs with eye-catching, square video content similar to these, across a broad range of social media platforms. Remember these can be adapted to your company branding and associated colour palette no matter what sort of business you run or what sort of promotional campaign you want to launch.

And finally another example of how you can use Videoads, in this example aimed at estate agents, Wilder Spring are promoting a featured property to highlight to potential buyers. First notice how the 'Wilder Spring' logo appears on the boxes of the people moving in, again an interesting and eye-catching intro for the viewer. We then move into the featured property with a post which can be used across a broad range of social media platforms.

What's more I can create an animated gif from these Videoads, this could allow you to embed an animated gif of this Videoad directly into your mailing list so that it actually plays within the email itself? As it's an animated gif you will lose the audio but the presentation will play in most (not all) email applications, this could be HUGE! You could offer this as a service for your sellers, knowing that their house could be advertised in this way to all of your potential buyers on your email list in addition to the social media coverage.

To find out more about Videoads, visit: or to discuss your visual marketing requirements including video production and professional photography please contact Paul on 07969 054778 or email: